Tap into Maple hits the sweet spot! Spring has sprung and warmer days are here as our region’s maple trees start producing their liquid gold sap, ready to be produced into delicious maple treats. Take part in Tap Into Maple, on now until April 3, driving through lesser-traveled routes to working sugar shacks that offer a firsthand view of the maple syrup process, from harvesting and boiling to enjoying. With 13 locations participating in Tap Into Maple, here’s some highlights of what’s on so you don’t miss out on all things maple!
Visit the Producers
March is a busy time of year for maple producers as it’s time to harvest flowing sap, working around the clock to collect and boil down the liquid gold into our favourite amber treat. From large vacuum operations, gravity tubes that work with the landscape, or traditional bucket collection, each producer has a slightly different process that is unique to their operation. Our local producers are eager to showcase this process with visitors, offering self-guided trails, demonstrations and tours.
At The FarmGate, just outside of Brechin, Bert Harrington shows visitors maple syrup being boiled outside in the open air with steam flowing continuously.
Over in Severn, two producers make it a family operation. At Backwoods Maple Syrup, Corey and Paul Vandergeest and Paul and Trevor Partridge tap over 2,000 trees on their family farm. Just ten minutes away, over at Maple Grove Syrup, Brent and Amy Beers offer pre-registered guided tours through their sugar bush on weekends. Both producers have road stands with their latest syrup and maple products available for purchase.
Oro-Medonte’s rolling hills and canopied forests make it a haven for five of our local producers. At Elsie’s Creek Farm, Carl Campitelli uses a wood-fired evaporator in a traditional sugar shack, embracing the historical elements of our region. McCutcheon’s Maple Syrup opens up their sugar shack for visitors on the weekends of March 26th and April 2nd. Sugar Sweet Farm has a porch stand, open seven days a week, with fresh syrup and locally produced honey when available. Hutchinson Maple Syrup has a brand new sugar shack this year, open for visitors to pick up product and hike through the sugar bush. During Maple Weekend, be sure to stop by on April 2nd from 1-3pm to see Monty the Alpaca on site! Finally, indulging in a pancake meal at Shaw’s Maple Syrup is a must-do stop to herald in the maple season. Horse-drawn sleigh rides are also available through Shaw’s sugar bush.
Shop the Markets
Hewitt’s Farm Market & Bakery is stocked with maple goodies for visitors to their store in Warminster. Enjoy Hewitt’s Pure Maple Syrup, maple pecan muffins, lollipops, suckers, toffee and maple sugar, as well as maple barbecue sauces, bacon, sausages, butter, fudge and loaves.
On Saturday, March 26, from 9am to 1pm, bring the family out to the Orillia Fairgrounds Farmers Market with vendors featuring maple products from syrup to baked goods. There will also be games and activities for kids!
Indulge in maple treats while shopping around the region. In Craighurst, Chelsea Chocolates will be offering a special maple truffle and buttercream along with their decadent hand-crafted chocolates. Over in downtown Orillia, Apple Annie’s Café & Shop is offering sweet treats from store-made maple fudge to maple drinks to enjoy.
Special Sweetwater Events!
The Sweetwater Harvest Festival is on at Wye Marsh weekends through to April 3rd with lots of outdoor fun. Sugar shack demonstrations, Maple Kids’ Zone, vendors, interpretive hikes and more make it a perfect family outing to celebrate spring.
Rounding out the month is Maple Weekend, presented by the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association, which runs April 2nd and 3rd. Experience the traditional maple sugaring craft and taste why pure Ontario maple syrup is a favourite springtime treat. This Ontario-spread event features a number of Orillia & Lake Country producers that are also part of Tap Into Maple including Backwoods Maple Syrup, Elsie’s Creek Farm, Hutchinson Maple Syrup, Maple Grove Syrup, and Shaw’s Maple Syrup.
It may be a grand finale for Tap Into Maple, but Maple Weekend is a kick-off for the spring sales of maple products in our area.
Get ready to indulge your sweet tooth at the Tap into Maple experience!
For all the details visit TapIntoMaple.com
Extend your stay in Orillia after a day of adventuring through the Lake Country region. Book your accommodations at a cozy hotel with amenities and easy access to local restaurants and shops.
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